Abstract Sculptures by Bruce Johnson and Riis Burwell Can be Enjoyed at Occidental Center for the Arts

An upcoming gallery exhibit at the Occidental Center for the Arts (OCA) will feature two nationally and internationally known sculptors Bruce Johnson. (www.formandenergy.com) and, Riis Burwell, (www.RiisBurwell.com) . The work of these two sculptors has a synergy derived from their similar response to the energy of the natural world. Johnson works primarily in wood and Burwell works in various metals. The juried paintings that accompany the sculpture exhibit are selected to enhance the abstract forms created by these two sculptors. The harmony between paintings and sculptures makes this show a viewer’s delight.

Bruce Johnson has installed his work in such far-away places as Italy, Spain, Taiwan, and Alaska. For a look at his local installations, Bruce Johnson’s large-scale redwood sculptures can be seen at the Wells Fargo Center in Santa Rosa, at the Santa Rosa Hyatt Hotel’s garden walk, and in front of the OCA. To read about his abundant experience and prolific work, go to: http://formandenergy.com/new/resume/ The OCA gallery exhibit will feature his smaller, but equally unique sculptures. His work with salvaged old growth redwood has made him acutely aware that he uses uniquely beautiful and rapidly vanishing material. While it may appear that he has made little intervention with the wood, such is not the case. Every surface is worked and every texture is intentional. He views each sculpture as a small act of preservation.

Riis Burwell has several large scale installations in Hong Kong and in distant places such as London and Boston. To view his monumental size works locally, visit the Santa Rosa Hyatt Hotel’s garden walk and the Sonoma County Airport, as well as the front of the PG&E building and at the Manly Honda dealership on Corby Avenue. His table-top-size work can be seen at Arthaus Gallery in San Francisco, and will be the principle size exhibited at the OCA. He also creates wall sculptures, and these can be viewed on his web site at http://www.riisburwell.com/gallery/#/wall/ Burwell does not cast any part of a sculpture, but rather hand-fabricates all shapes for each particular piece. He finds that metals—bronze, steel, stainless steel, and aluminum– are utilitarian yet graceful, strong yet yieldingly flexible to the well-trained artisan, and have the ability to evoke a variety of textures through surface treatment: from naturally rusted to smooth and gleaming; from a soft natural patina to deep brown or black.


The juror for this extraordinary show is Paul Mahder, owner of the expansive, new Paul Mahder Gallery in downtown Healdsburg. An artist photographer himself, Paul began his gallery directorship career in San Francisco. In 2001, he became the founding director of the Blue Room Gallery, a non-profit contemporary art gallery that soon became one of the largest and most respected galleries in San Francisco.
For over 13 years, Paul Mahder has represented established and mid-career artists from around the world. (www.PaulMahderGallery.com).

The OCA is a not-for-profit, public benefit corporation and all proceeds go toward the continuation and expansion of the Center’s public-service mission. The gallery is located at 3850 Doris Murphy Ct, Occidental, off of Bohemian Highway near the intersection with Graton Road. (707) 874-9392. Admission is free and donations are gratefully accepted.

An artists’ reception will be held on November 6, Friday, from 5-7 p.m. Wine and appetizers will be served. Donations appreciated. The exhibit will continue from November 6 through January 3. For this exhibit, the gallery will be open Fridays and Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Sundays from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.